At LSE Careers we often talk about the ‘hidden jobs market’, and the importance of thinking creatively about engaging with employers, but what does that mean in reality?

We are aware that the idea of using your phone to call a potential employer about opportunities in their organisation can be a daunting one. This post aims to provide practical tips to help you on your way to making that call, and engaging directly with people, who could be willing to help you on your way to a job or internship.

First steps…

Narrow down the type of organisation that most interests you. Can you think why you’d like to work for them, and what it is they do that impresses you? This initial groundwork can really pay off in terms of giving you the confidence to make initial contact.

What next?

Sending in a CV and cover letter, targeted at exploring potential opportunities can demonstrate that you have thought things through and put in the groundwork in advance of any call. It also offers the opportunity to say that your call is following up on an initial communication.

Who do you want to speak to?

Research is key here. Are there any LSE Alumni in the organisation? Do your best to identify, via LinkedIn or by attending careers events, individuals who might be open to speaking to you as a current LSE student.

Be ready!

What is it exactly that you want to talk about? Preparing a positive opening ‘elevator pitch’ can help give a phone conversation a positive and purposeful start. LSE Careers Consultants can help with this, providing feedback and a safe place to practice.

What next?

Finish any phone conversation politely, but don’t be afraid to seek advice about next steps. Should you speak to their HR team? Or follow up in a few weeks time? This information can invaluable in helping you plan ahead and also has the bonus of demonstrating your commitment to the organisation.

Follow up

If you do have a conversation use the opportunity to make a connection via LinkedIn, referencing the call.  If you have obtained someone’s email then be positive and send a brief thank you for the time spent speaking with you.

Be resilient

Often calls will go directly to voicemail. Don’t be deterred! Provide relevant and succinct details of the reason for your call, and also your contact details. Follow up after a week, but if someone doesn’t get back in contact after three attempts it’s worth considering that perhaps the time isn’t right for this particular individual or organisation.

Final thoughts

Thinking of cold calling employers as just one element of your career strategy can take a little of the pressure of picking up the phone. Building networks and presenting yourself professionally are key skills that this job search approach can really enhance. LSE Careers can provide support along the way, helping you engage with organisations and communicate with confidence.

Have you had any experience cold calling employers? Was it positive and fruitful? Let us know in the comments below.